ExSaf Cycling TeamThe 4th Cycling

The 4th Cycling:Sichuan - Tibet

Cycling route: Luding Sichuan – Yajiang River – Lhasa Tibet - Everest Base Camp

Date: May 15, 2009

Number of participants: 15

Distance: 1859km

Since the cycling in desert in 2006, it has been the 4th cycling this year. This time, we are cycling to Tibet, along the route from Sichuan to Tibet.

We, 14 cyclers in total, started from Luding, where the Red Army seized Luding Bridge in the Long March. According to our plan, we would arrive at Kangding (with the altitude of 1750m) on Day one and then enter the plateau. The date was May 15, 2009.

We meant that all 11 cyclers participating in the cycling in desert could cycle to Tibet together this time, but only Xue Tao, Wang Yang, Guo Aimin, Xizi, Ah Guan and Su Yihua participated this time; other 5 cyclers didn’t participate for all kinds of reasons and, in fact, most of them were worried about the safety of cycling in a plateau area.

The cycling in Day one ended very quickly and all the cyclers were expecting the cycling in Day two, as on Day two, the team would climb over Zheduo Mountain, which had an altitude of 4298m.

When climbing over Zheduo Mountain, we found the road was in poor conditions and there were many vehicles on the road. Often, the vehicles passing by would leave thick dusts behind. In addition, as the team cycled along the upslope all the way, it was a difficult time for all the cyclers. Everyone was worried, because it was the first time for the team to climb over a mountain as high as 4000m. With the increase of altitude, the cycling team slowed down and it got more difficult for the cyclers to breathe.

When the altitude was above 3500m, it was very difficult for cycling and no one could cycle fast. The cycling speed was as low as 6-7km per hour. It was difficult to breathe and the cyclers had to stop for rest more and more frequent. Every time they stopped, they had to lie on the handlebar and wait for a long time before they could properly adjust their breath.

As it was the first time for us to climb over such a high mountain, we had no related experience and we could not properly control our cycling speed. In addition, we were worried about the altitude reaction, so we had a big physical exhaustion. Finally, we had to cycle for a while and walk for a while and didn’t arrive at the summit until over 4:00pm.

We finally made it. It was rather windy on the summit and the red prayer flags whirred in the wind. Though we were still worried about the subsequent cycling travel, we knew we could climb up a mountain as high as 4000m. We went along the downhill all the way to Xindu Bridge.

On Day three, we climbed over Gaoersi Mountain with the altitude of 4412m and we felt much better than in the previous day, as in which, the mental tension and worry consumed our physical power. Though it rained heavily with hail when we were almost at the summit, it was smoother for us than climbing over Zheduo Mountain.

When we do a certain thing for the first time or when we do something with difficulty, our worry may prevent our intelligent and physical exertions; only when we face such difficulty calmly, could it become smaller and smaller for us

After climbing over 7 mountains including Jianziwan Mountain, Kazila Mountain, Lawu Mountain and Jueba Mountain, etc., we arrived at Mangkang County. We planned to take a rest in Mangkang, but, as it was still very early, we continued our cycling and arrived at Zhuka.

At 11:30pm, we found a place in Zhuka and set up simple tents there. It was Day six and many of us hadn’t shaved for a long time. Their beards were quite long. All of us were quite adapted to the conditions and got relaxed now. We bought two boxes of bears from the village and didn’t go to sleep until over 2:00 in the morning.

On the next, we climbed over Dongda Mountain with the altitude of 5008m and it was a really painful experience for us. We had a rest at the interval of 3km. Though we had experienced cycling in a plateau area and we had learned to control the speed and frequency of cycling, the travel was more painful than our travel in any of previous mountains.

Dongda Mountain is very beautiful, but we could not attend to enjoy the scenery.

After climbing over Dongda Mountain, we were very exited, because we knew there was no more higher mountain ahead and we knew we could finally cycle to Lhasa. Our worry disappeared, but the altitude reactions emerged.

When climbing over Dongda Mountain, Su Yihua, Wang Jinhua and Shifusheng suffered strong altitude reactions. From the first mountain, Su Yihua felt dizzy and light-headed. When arriving at the summit of Dongda Mountain, he suffered a serious headache. When he went down from Dongda Mountain, the altitude reactions even got worse. He even could not move, as with a single movement, he would felt a sharp pain in the head and it seemed that his lungs were exploding.

Xu Tao and Wang Yang were scared and the doctor they found said injection and oxygen uptake were necessary. However, Su Yihua was so innocent that he thought he would get oxygen dependent after the oxygen uptake and cannot continue the cycling, so he refused to take oxygen. After the doctor guaranteed that was not the case, he agreed to take the oxygen without injection. After he took a bag of oxygen, the altitude reactions were somewhat alleviated.

We had climbed over many mountains and there were higher mountains ahead. We should not have drunk at the previous night; otherwise, it would not be so difficult for us to climb over Dongda Mountain.

Though we climbed over only one mountain each day, we still had to be patient when climbing over a high mountain. Sometimes, the cycling on a high mountain was slower than walking, but all of us remained patient and kept cycling. We had many cyclers this time and we helped and supported each other, so all the 14 cyclers arrived at the end point.

On May 25, we arrived at Lhasa.

In above picture, from left: Xizi, Wang Yang, Zhang Xinfeng, Hu Hui, Shi Fusheng, Ah Guan, Ma Gang, Su Yihua, Liu Jun, Wang Ping, Xue Tao, Wang Jinhua, Guo Aimin, Chen Zewen

  • All kinds of eating methods

  • The hardship and happiness of cycling

  • Take a photo with the cowboy team members

  • When meeting a Tibetan girl on the road, Zhang Xinfeng felt the pain alleviated immediately.

  • Everyone beside Chuma River was so happy.

  • Both the altitude reaction and the beauty of Haizi Mountain were unforgettable for us.